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POLITICO New York Energy, presented by Nuclear Matters: L.I. solar snags; pipeline review policy

By David Giambusso and Scott Waldman

Good morning! Only POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive an enhanced version of this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York energy policy news throughout the day, please contact us at newyork@politicopro.com and we'll set you up for trial access. Thank you for reading.

LONG ISLAND SOLAR SNAGS — Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “Large commercial solar projects sprouting up around Long Island are relying on generous state and local tax breaks and locally arranged financing to help cut development costs, but the expected return to municipalities is comparatively small.” http://nwsdy.li/1YGsWxM

ATU: DEC REVIEW OF PIPELINE IS A GOOD THING — The Albany Times Union editorial board: The decision to have the state Department of Environmental Conservation share responsibility for the environmental review of a proposed crude oil pipeline is a smarter approach than having the Thruway Authority do it alone. This is about much more than the Thruway. The review of the Pilgrim Pipeline needs to look beyond the potential environmental impacts the project will have just along its 178-mile route, including 90 miles of the Thruway. It also needs to consider how this project affects controversial crude oil rail traffic, and how it fits into the broader discussion of the future of energy in a state, a nation, and a world increasingly concerned about the effect on the global climate of the burning of fossil fuels. http://bit.ly/1YGrjjM

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York’s carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York’s nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP. Learn more at NuclearMatters.com. **

INDIAN POINT’S JERSEY IMPLICATIONS: The Record’s Scott Fallon examines the Indian Point debate from a New Jersey perspective. “Indian Point has long been a concern of North Jersey officials because Bergen and Passaic counties sit just outside the plant’s federally designated 10-mile evacuation zone, which critics have long said is too small. New Jersey has developed emergency plans, including one to accept thousands of people from Rockland County if need be. New Jersey has not weighed in on Indian Point’s future. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has not submitted any comments to the NRC because it has “no regulatory role” over the plant, said Larry Hajna, an agency spokesman. Indian Point’s relicensing saga comes during a relatively quiet time for New Jersey’s own nuclear industry.” http://bit.ly/1Pqq94b

AROUND NEW YORK:

--Con Edison is hosting a forum on demand response programs on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. at their Irving place headquarters. More info here: http://bit.ly/1PqpBLw

HAPPY MONDAY! Let us know anytime if you have tips, story ideas or life advice. We're always here at dgiambusso@politico.com and swaldman@politico.com. And if you like this letter, please tell a friend and/or loved one. Here’s a handy sign-up link: politi.co/1UqoEoB

REPUBLICANS SPLIT ON SCIENCE — The Hill’s Timothy Cama: “The Republican Party is divided over whether to attack the science of climate change when opposing liberal policies. Many of the most vocal Republicans say they have significant problems with the scientific consensus that the Earth is warming and that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity is the main cause. The skeptics include presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Capitol Hill chairmen Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas).” http://bit.ly/22tPXn7

TINY WATER POWER — The Guardian: A small Lego device on the shelf of professor Ozgur Sahin’s office at Columbia University could open up the possibility of another form of renewable energy, and one that is much cheaper than solar and wind. Sahin has used the simple gadget to prove that evaporating water can be used to generate power, which could eventually lead to energy being generated from still reservoirs. At the centre of the research by Sahin and his team in New York are spores of common soil bacteria that expand, much like a muscle, when there is moisture in the atmosphere, and contract in drier conditions. http://bit.ly/1YGqeIG

MUTUAL FUNDS BURNT BY ENERGY — The Financial Times: “One of the hottest categories of mutual funds in recent years inflicted the harshest losses on investors in 2015, the result of a toxic combination of sliding oil prices and rising interest rates.A league table of the worst-performing US funds is dominated by so-called energy limited partnership funds, which were sold as a high-yield investment that would not be as exposed to commodity prices as direct investments in energy producers.” http://on.ft.com/1PqooUt

FLOODING IN THE UK — BBC: An extra 500 troops have been brought in to deal with ‘unprecedented’ flooding in Yorkshire and Lancashire.Some 400 soldiers are already helping people in areas affected by downpours at Christmas and the PM vowed to help people in ‘their hour of need’. Emergency teams are evacuating homes in York, where police say 3,500 properties were at risk near the River Foss. There are scores of flood warnings in England, Wales and Scotland - more than 20 severe, meaning danger to life.Soldiers are already in action in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire. The additional personnel are being deployed on Sunday while another 1,500 are on standby in Yorkshire. http://bbc.in/1Pqp10e

EL NINO — Reuters: “In Buffalo, early December meant breaking a 116-year-old record for a lack of snow. In Duluth, Minn., a newspaper reported that the temperature was 40 degrees above zero, not below. And in Miami, beachgoers stayed indoors during what had become the third-wettest December in local history, just eight days into the month.” http://bit.ly/1kmzQFu

WITH LESS OIL MONEY, ALASKA MULLS INCOME TAX — Alaska Dispatch News: Oil money no longer pays the bills here. The governor, facing a profound fiscal crisis, has proposed the imposition of a personal income tax for the first time in 35 years. State lawmakers, who recently moved into a palatial new office building here, where they work when not toiling in the far-off Capitol in Juneau, are now seeking less costly digs. http://bit.ly/1PqplMD

NUCLEAR OPTIONS — POLITICO’s Darius Dixon: “Nuclear power producers are buckled in for a tough ride 2016 in the U.S. and abroad, with question marks hanging over the fate of plants in the Midwest and Northeast, vacancies at key regulatory and lending agencies, and a court decision that could upend electricity markets.Utilities are anxiously watching governors’ offices and utility commissions in Illinois, Ohio and New York for clues about how to rescue chunks of the nation’s reactor fleet. Component suppliers and vendors are stressing over fears that continued conservative obstruction of the Export-Import Bank will choke off their international business prospects.”

FUTURES:

--Oil closed out higher on Thursday ahead of the holiday, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“For February delivery, light, sweet crude futures gained 1.6% to settle at $38.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The global benchmark Brent closed at $37.89 a barrel, up 1.4%, on London’s ICE Futures exchange.” http://on.wsj.com/1YGtfbZ

--Natural gas rallied Thursday as colder weather moves in and stockpiles deplete, the Journal reports.

“Despite the warm temperature on Christmas Eve, prices for the front-month January contract gained 4.6 cents, or 2.3%, to settle at $2.0290 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.” http://on.wsj.com/1PqqNi1

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America’s existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America’s carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state’s electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state’s GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York’s state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at NuclearMatters.com **

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